Comments: Making Mediation Sessions Accessible To People With Disabilities

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Judy  Cohen, NY NY  accessrs@ix.netcom.com     12/02/00
Mediating with persons who are Deaf
Kenneth Gallant's clarifications are very helpful. This topic warrants its own article. I understand that one will be published in the future at www.directionservice.org, under the auspices of CADRE (Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education). For more discussion on this topic currently, go to www.adamediation.org/forum and go into the conference on Mediating When a Party is Deaf. Judy Cohen, Coordinator ADA Mediation Guidelines

Kenneth Gallant, Little Rock AR  ksgallant@ualr.edu     09/28/00
Deafness, Writing and Sign Language
Judy Cohen's remarks that using writing instead of sign language for deaf people denies them equal access is sometimes true, sometimes not. Some deaf people are more fluent in written English than American Sign Language (which is not a word-for-word copy of English--using it *does* require translation, creating all the issues that exist whenever translations are used). (At least one other common sign language is closer to English.) Moreover, when one uses TTY over the telephone, as Ms. Cohen suggests, one is using written language. One must ensure that all those using TTY's are capable in the written language being used. The issue is not sign language versus writing, but determining what mode of communication will give fullest access to the particular people involved in this mediation.